British Ministry of Defense officials and other denizens of the Whitehall government complex behind # 10 Downing Street were jubilant. The source of their joy? Through their media tentacles the British continued to dominate both sides of the Atlantic with revisionist views of the 1916 Irish Easter Rebellion. The 6 day battle signaled the beginning of the end of the British Empire. To send a message it had to be savagely crushed with murder and extra-legal executions. The British still perpetuate myths and smears about the revolt.
Few U. S. media outlets chose to cover the anniversary of the week long conflict; a success in itself for the British. No matter. Pre-emptive book reviews and commentary diminishing the character, bravery, vision and determination of the rebels were at the ready. President Obama managed a reference to the Easter Proclamation but was silent on British undermining of the Good Friday Agreement. This from the man who has an opinion on bathrooms in North Carolina and tells the British people how to vote. Instead of reporting the historical significance of the rebellion, many U. S. media went with Betty’s 90th birthday or the curious suspicious story of Jesuit Professor Seamus Murphy’s claim that the revolt did not meet criteria for a just war. The issue was a stretch even for an egghead Professor but take it to the bank he is no Fr. Berrigan. Some media even managed to find space for deprecating remarks about the Easter Rising and its aftermath from well known expert on the Irish conflict….Sir Rat of the Boomtown Rats, Bob Geldorf, Take it to the bank he is no Bono who dares to to speak of Dublin Monaghan victims.
Michael Curtis in the American Thinker somehow managed to describe events following the rebellion without referring to partition, re-unification of Ireland, treasonous Protestant bigots, mutinous British Army leaders or the 1918 election victory of Sinn Fein. He states “the country has been divided..” as if by consent or democratic mandate instead of force. Several articles used phrases that smelled of British propaganda. The use of the phrase “ blood lust” by Ferghal McGarry and others referring to Padraic Pearse who welcomed death in the cause of freedom. You will not find any such phrase used in a British textbook or by a British historian to describe the Empire despite the savage slaughter of millions. Only the Irish could have a ‘blood lust.’ Irish historian Ruan O’Donnell retorted that the “…myth of the blood sacrifice should be laid to rest.” In film, book reviews and editorial opinion the phrase “… most Dubliners…” was used to describe residents opposition to the six day battle. Ask yourself. Isn’t it more likely that phrase was supplied by loyalists or by those fearful of 20,000 troops. Dublin was in 1916…and to some extent still is…in 2016 a company town whose inhabitants and media lived off British favor and whose newspapers like todays Independent (sic) were government mouthpieces. No unbiased survey was taken. The phrase was a press release prop.
Katherine Whittemore of the Boston Globe was one such journalist who apparently lent some credence to the “..most Dubliners…”nonsense. She inferred that the Irishmen who led the fight on Dublin streets were less worthy of recognition than the Irishmen who joined the British Army in the true ‘blood-lust’ royal squabble known as WW I. Many of the 30,000 Irishmen who died were Nationalists who actually believed the British were going to grant Ireland independence after the war. All the while British Parliamentarians like Bonar Law and Randolph Churchill supported arming a gang of Ulster loyalists to insure partition. That would be like Members of the U. S. Congress supporting thousands of Oklahoma City bombers. Keeping large segments of the Irish people poor was a despicable colonial tool to replenish the ranks of the Army.
But let’s look at the big picture of British recent successes. The Telegraph, England’s Tory mouthpiece, continued its tradition of scaremongering articles about threats in N. I.. The article claimed, without a single identifiable source, that N. I. is now a playground for ISIS . Decades ago it was the Communist threat. Now MI-5 and the British Army play nice together when seeking more money for their mischief in N. I. The Irish sounding reporter Kate McCann was a nice touch. In Ireland Ministers Allan Kelly and Charles Flanagan can’t say enough wonderful things about the British. This from the same government that gets a two fingered salute from England when it begs for more data about MI-5 and Army involvement in the Dublin Monaghan mass murder. The British take particular pride in their neutering of American officials all in the name of the ‘special ‘relationship; one which is more parasitic than special. President Obama proclaimed “…the US will always be a wind at your back…” and Vice President Biden exhorts “…if we have a moral obligation to other parts of the world why not Ireland.” These empty meaningless phrases delight British diplomats and make Whitehall rejoice! A conference recently held in Washington on the Good Friday Agreement was the typical invitation- only no questions asked foreign policy briefing which insures that British funded think tanks will always know more about N. I. than American citizens.
However, some good news! A Freedom of Information release discovered a demand from Margaret Thatcher of Irish Taoiseach Jack Lynch that RUC officers be present at Gardai interrogations of IRA suspects. The release did not indicate the response from the Irish government. I’d like to think it went something like this: Margaret when you produce the list of all those accountable for the slaughter of 34 innocent people in the act of war euphemistically called the Dublin-Monaghan bombings, you can have your Gardai-RUC cooperation. But hey that’s just me!